Honor, decency and virtue - yes, even towards that president

You're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, especially not when the dead in question is a hero. But John McCain should have invited the president to his funeral. 

Oh, I understand why. Donald Trump, as an individual, is odious. He is vulgar, overly self-centered, bigoted, ignorant, loud and boorish. And that's on a good day. I absolutely cannot stand him, and I have a big problem with the people who support him even with their nose plugged. Plus he said really nasty things about John McCain that he had no business saying. I get it. And yet. 

He should have been invited. Because no matter how much we despise him, or how right we are to despise him, he occupies the office of President and that's what matters. The symbol if not the man. He quite probably would have declined to attend, especially if he had not been asked to speak and had to sit quietly while two former presidents did so. But then it would have been Donald Trump disrespecting the office, and no one else. 

The United States, like most countries you'd actually want to live in, works (however imperfectly) because enough of its people believe in the ideals of honor, virtue, and decency. The fact that the current occupant of the Oval Office embodies the antithesis of those ideals is most inconvenient. It cramps our style. But that doesn't make the ideals not worth living up to. Quite the opposite. 

John McCain, although he was no saint (just thought I'd put this out there), was a man who believed in those ideals. You just have to go back and read what he said against the use of torture even in cases where "enhanced" methods of interrogation could potentially thwart terrorist plots. His reasoning was magnificent. He could be incredibly frustrating when he stood up in defense of his ideals. He might bend sometimes, but he would not break. When people questioned Barack Obama's patriotism because of where his father had been born, John McCain defended him. He didn't need to do that. But he did it because he couldn't stand racism and bigotry. 

That's honor. That's decency. That's virtue. 

So Donald Trump fiddled with the flags. He pointedly went and played golf while the rest of the country mourned with John McCain's family and friends. Whatever. That's the kind of boorish fellow he is. We don't answer with more of the same. We quietly respect and honor the office and symbols, with as much dignity as we can muster, and move on. I am sorry to see that a man who could withstand torture (to say nothing of D.C. politics) with honor would, in his last hours, weaken in his resolve and leave us with this bitter gesture. 

The meaning of beauty

A vacation for the mind